A new author of considerable talent makes a sparkling debut with a rollicking tale of love and misunderstanding in Regency times.

He is known as the Nonesuch. But Tristan Richard Rutherford-Hayes, Sixth Earl Stanhope, is much more than a society fribble. As head of his family, he must bear his share of responsibility for the behavior of his roguish cousin, whose indiscreet wagering threatens to ruin the reputation of a country spinster.

Making an excuse to join the house-party his relative is attending, the earl is surprised to discover that Miss Calista Ashton, the supposedly dried-up prune, is far from unattractive, even if her clothes are both unbecoming and out of fashion. In fact, the more he looks at her, the more smitten he becomes.

Calista, however, knows that there is no way in the world that the most eligible bachelor in the ton would consider her insignificant person as a suitable bride. She can only tell herself that it could never happen, but can she keep herself from falling in love with the earl anyway?

A graceful stylist, Ms. Benson sets off a veritable fountain of romantic sparks between her two lovers, displaying a real gift for witty repartee that will leave discerning readers anxiously awaiting the next book from this outstanding new writer. (Mar., 254 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer